This article originally appeared in FiercePharma and was written by Eric Sagonowsky
With leading COVID-19 vaccines in late-stage testing, companies have been inking supply deals with the U.S. government for a quick rollout if their programs succeed. Now, Johnson & Johnson is getting into the act.
The pharma giant struck a deal to supply 100 million doses of its candidate, Ad26.COV2.S, if the shot is cleared for use by the FDA. The U.S. government is committing just over $1 billion under the agreement for a price per dose of about $10.
That compares with a lower price-per-dose of $4 for AstraZeneca and a higher figure of $19.50 for Pfizer and BioNTech under agreements between those drugmakers and the U.S. government. J&J and AZ have pledged to provide their vaccines under a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.
Under the new J&J deal, which stipulates manufacturing in the U.S., the feds could later buy another 200 million doses under a separate agreement. The company previously won $456 million in funding to support its R&D and manufacturing scale-up, according to a government database.
While J&J isn’t in later-stage testing like Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the company recently entered human testing on the heels of positive preclinical results. The drugmaker kicked off a phase 1/2a study in more than 1,000 adults 18 to 55 in Belgium and the U.S. last month. It’s also planning to test the shot in people 65 and older, executives said, and is exploring one- and two-dose regimens.
J&J expects initial human results in September, and the drugmaker could start phase 3 efficacy testing next month as well.
“We could have data before the year ends” or in early 2021, R&D head Paul Stoffels said on a conference call last month. Vaccinations could begin in early 2021 under that timeline.
J&J’s deal with the U.S. government comes right on the heels of a $2.1 billion deal with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to develop and deliver 100 million doses. Before that, the U.S. government inked a $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to deliver 100 million doses, and a $1.2 billion deal with AstraZeneca for development and production of 300 million doses.
Smaller vaccine player Novavax also scored a $1.6 billion deal to develop and deliver 100 million doses. Moderna has not signed a supply agreement, but has nabbed $955 million in U.S. government funding for development; executives said Wednesday that early, small-volume deals have priced the shot at $32 to $37 per dose.
Before its supply deal, Johnson & Johnson teamed up with the U.S. government on research and development. Under that March arrangement, the parties committed $1 billion in combined funding.